With a swift performance, great handling and a smart looking carbon frame that accepts mudguards and wide tyres, the BMC Roadmachine 02 Two impresses on many fronts, but it's let down by a ride that is far from the smoothest on rough roads and it’s pricier than equivalent rivals.
- Pros: Fast, stiff, looks good, geometry, takes mudguards
- Cons: Bit pricey, cable routing, hard ride, no tubeless tyres
Ride and handling
First impressions are always very important when testing bikes and mine with the BMC Roadmachine were that it's evidently a very rapid bike. The speed comes easily and keeps on coming, over any terrain. I was reminded of the excellent Teammachine I tested last year, only one that had been dialled back from 10 on the intensity scale to about a 7 or 8.
It also feels fast because the geometry stays much closer to the race bike it is loosely based on compared to most endurance bikes, which are typified by tall head tubes and short top tubes. It means you can get quite an aggressive, stretched-out position if you want it.
BMC has penned a bike that has only slightly longer chainstays than the Teammachine, a slacker head angle and lower bottom bracket, with 30mm tyre clearance, while the reach and stack are a smidgen shorter and higher respectively.
There is plenty of scope to adjust the stack by playing about with the headset top cap, with the choice of the stock 16mm cap fitted to the test bike or fitting an optional short cap, to achieve as aggressive or laidback a riding position as you want. Slam the stem, add a bit of speed and the BMC is a brisk distance bike.
It can hustle its way through corners well, the steering is reasonably quick and the geometry provides a good balance with stacks of stability. It's an easy bike to pilot through turns and descents at high speed, with the sort of surefooted calmness you expect and want from an endurance bike.
The oversize frame features clearly gift the BMC an urgency that encourages fast-paced riding. There's not a hint of twist when you stamp on the pedals, the huge down tube and chainstays, joined by an oversized press-fit bottom bracket shell, all contribute to impressive pedalling efficiency. It romps up steep climbs and surges over crests.
While the speed is impressive, the same can't be said of its ride quality. BMC has employed its Tuned Compliance Concept (TCC) which sees the fork blades and frame shaped in key places to deliver a bit of give on rough roads. With clearance for up to 30mm tyres, and 28mm tyres fitted as standard, it's a bike that should be as smooth as it is fast.
Only it's not. The Roadmachine ride is firm and hard compared to the best in class. You're not isolated from the bumps and imperfections as well as other endurance bikes. Instead of smothering and absorbing poor road surfaces, there's a lot of feedback through the bike that acts as a reminder you're on a badly surfaced road.
With the generally poor state of UK roads pushing cyclists to endurance bikes and wider tyres, and a growing appetite for the road less travelled, on paper the Roadmachine ought to be ideal. But sadly, it's just a little disappointing on badly surfaced roads, lacking the smoothness it really needs to deliver.
What it does deliver is a fast-paced and enthusiastic ride that will suit, for example, ex-racing cyclists looking for a slightly more relaxed riding position and space for wider tyres and maybe mudguards for winter riding, without sacrificing the speed they favour.
BMC has always made distinctive looking bikes and the Roadmachine is no exception, as modern looking now as it was when it was first unveiled in 2016. It's typified by oversize tubes and chamfered edges, a compact dropped rear triangle and angular fork blades.
BMC offers two flavours of carbon Roadmachine. The 01 is the lightest and most expensive version with a claimed 920g frame, while this 02 swaps some of the high-end carbon fibres for a lower price point and 1,100g frame weight. There's also an aluminium version as well.
There are some interesting features on this bike that help it stand out: the huge down tube for maximising power transfer, chamfered transitions along the side of the frame tubes, stepped chainstay and fork blade design and skinny dropped seatstays. Along with the Tuned Compliance Concept, applied to the fork blades and the rear triangle, is a carbon fibre D-shaped seatpost with an internal clamp mechanism.
We're seeing a real push towards integrating all cables and brake hoses inside not just the frame but also the handlebar and stem. Just look at the new Specialized S-Works Venge as a great example. BMC has tried the same approach with the Roadmachine, developing a proprietary Integrated Cockpit Stem which, on the high-end models, keeps all the wires and hoses completely hidden from view.
However, although this mechanical Shimano Ultegra model has the same stem, it has the cables sprouting (I can think of no better word) wildly from the handlebar to the down tube port. Down tube ports have become popular on modern carbon race bikes and sometimes they work well, other times they result in huge bands of cables, as in the case of the BMC. It's not the first bike I've seen cable routing this poorly finished, and it's a real blemish on an expensive road bike.
Elsewhere, you get disc brakes using flat mount callipers, 12mm thru-axles, and mudguard mounts concealed under rubber bungs. Unless you look closely you really can't see them, but they apparently only work with BMC's own £120 mudguards.
Build and equipment
This is a Shimano Ultegra-equipped model costing £3,300, with Mavic Aksium Elite UST wheels with 28mm wide Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres and mostly BMC finishing kit save for the Selle Royal saddle (which looks remarkably similar to a Fizik Aliante). Our size 56cm test bike comes in at 8.57kg (18.8lb) on the road.cc scales.
Shimano's Ultegra R8000 groupset is a wonderful symphony of crisp and light gear changes and reassuring braking in all weathers, with proven reliability and aesthetics that suit the BMC frame well. The compact 50/34 chainset and 11-32t cassette provide good assistance on hilly terrain but I could equally see this bike with a semi-compact 52/36t chainset given its speedy credentials.
French wheel brand Mavic has gone all-in with tubeless for 2019, rolling out a road version of its UST tubeless standard first developed for mountain bike wheels over a decade ago to most of its road lineup. The Askium Elite UST fitted to this BMC is an entry-level wheelset that retails for £269. Given how much the wheelset influences the ride quality, it seems a shame BMC has chosen to spend just 8% of the complete bike price on the wheels.
However, it is a sturdy and reliable wheelset with 24 spokes per wheel and a 19mm wide rim. The claimed 1,780g weight isn't too tardy, but not as attractive as the lighter, higher-end Ksyrium Elite UST Disc we recently tested.
Instead of plumping for matching Mavic UST tyres, BMC has opted for 28mm Vittoria Rubino Pros. They are an okay choice with reasonable performance in a range of conditions, predictable traction in the dry and wet, and good puncture resistance. They aren't tubeless-ready so you can't make use of the Mavic rims' tubelessness, and they're not as supple feeling as higher-end tyres. This is perhaps an area where ride quality improvement could be made, either by fitting a posher tyre, a wider tyre or going tubeless.
As mentioned previously, BMC fits its own aluminium handlebar and stem. The latter can be fitted with optional computer and camera mounts to save strapping rubber bounds around it. The handlebar has a compact bend with ergonomic tops, making for a comfortable setup which I appreciated on longer rides. The stem height is easy to adjust with split headset spacers which neatly match the shape of the stem, but if you do lower the stem you'll need to fit regular round spacers on top, at least until you take the hacksaw to it.
The carbon seatpost is easy to adjust and provides 15mm of setback, and it's topped with a Selle Royal saddle which I had to replace for one with a better shape for my bottom. It's a very heavy saddle too, so weight weenies could shed a bit of weight with a choice upgrade.
Compared to the likes of the Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse, Specialized Roubaix and Trek Domane, to name a few other endurance bikes, the BMC Roadmachine just fails to deliver the same comfort to smooth out rough roads and isolate the rider from vibrations and bumps.
Yet, if speed is your thing and you want a bike that sits halfway between a race bike and an endurance bike when it comes to fit, position and attitude, the Roadmachine becomes a more interesting proposition.
The other negative is that at £3,300 it's a couple of hundred quid more expensive than similarly equipped carbon endurance rivals. You can pick up a Cannondale Synapse for £3,000, while a Specialized Roubaix and Trek Domane will both set you back £3,100. Which all makes it a little tricky to recommend the BMC based purely on value for money.
Endurance bikes have become a cornerstone of most bike brands' lineups and they have a tricky balance to deliver the speed of a race bike wrapped up with extra comfort for long rides and rough roads. The Roadmachine gets the speed, but in this specification it's just lacking the comfort required to go toe-to-toe with the best bikes in this class.
The performance and speed, plus the looks, do make the BMC an interesting choice if you want something a bit different and you're all about riding fast but want more comfort than a race bike.
A fast bike but lacks the comfort of other endurance bikes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BMC Roadmachine 02 Two
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Evans Cycles lists:
Frame Roadmachine 02 TCC Premium Carbon ACE
Fork Roadmachine 02 Carbon
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Number of Gears 22
Shifters Shimano Ultegra
Chain set Shimano Ultegra 50-34T
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 11-32T
Pedals Not Supplied
Brakeset Shimano Ultegra SM-RT800 Rotors (160/140)
Handlebars BMC RAB02 ergo top shape, Compact Bend
Stem BMC ICS01 w/computer and camera mount
Wheelset Mavic Aksium Elite Disc UST Thru Axle (12mm)
Tyres Vittoria Rubino Pro 700x28c
Saddle Selle Royal 2075 HRN
Seatpost Roadmachine 01 "D" Premium Carbon, 15mm offset
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
From Evans Cycles:
Who is this bike for?
Roadies who want a pure tarmac machine designed for high speed on road over any distance. Race bikes are designed and built to be as light as possible, so expect light frames and overall bike weight to be impressively low. The best road racing bikes are reactive and fast handling – they should be nimble and agile. This is ideal for racing purposes: cutting through a crowded pack of riders, but also for fun, fast rides in the country with your cycling buddies.
About the Bike
Who said you couldn't have it all? Due to the ultimate advancements in a re-Tuned Compliance Concept, this bike challenges the traditional road bike categories. From axle to axle, the new Roadmachine delivers sleek, integrated technologies and hints at free speed from every angle. It is lightweight, fast, and incredibly integrated. Brilliant pedaling efficiency and the ideal level of compliance for legendary days of riding leave you with no doubts; this bike has it all.
D-Shaped Seat Post: Flat edge increases compliance. Less material translates to less weight. No-Gap Seatclamp looks great and extra compliance for long rides. The Roadmachine front disc hardware comes equipped with a 140/160mm proprietary flatmount bracket for maximal integration and seamless design. Freshly Tuned Compliance Concept and Angle Compliance Technologies are found in abundance to create the most high-performance and balanced ride character of any endurance bike.
Premium Carbon TCC Frame is stiff where you need it, compliant where you don't
Premium Carbon Fork is engineered to flex to absorb shock and vibration
Shimano Ultegra 22 Speed Drivetrain for super fast, light and accurate shifting
Shimano Ultegra Hydraulic Disc Brakes give powerful, controllable and consistent stopping power with less effort
Mavic Aksium Elite Disc UST Wheelset with 12mm Thru Axle is designed to give light and reliable performance
Vittoria Rubino Pro 700 x 28mm Tyres for the fastest speed on the tarmac
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
Sits in the middle of the range, below the higher-end carbon 01 and above the aluminium 03.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Very good design and build quality.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
TCC Premium Carbon ACE frame and fork.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Sits closer to a race bike than many endurance bikes, so longer and lower. BMC offers dual stack options with two headset top caps to fine-tune the position.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
I found it very comfortable in a stretched and slammed style similar to race bikes.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
I found the position comfortable, as I'm well used to race bikes, but the ride is hard on rough, poorly surfaced roads.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is a trump card of the Roadmachine; the massive down tube and chainstays ensure very efficient power transfer.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Fairly neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling is fast and responsive. If you like to push on and are demanding of your bike and equipment on challenging courses and roads, you'll like the Roadmachine.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The wheels and tyres might be a prime area for injecting a bit of extra comfort.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
I didn't get on with the saddle but that's not to say you won't.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
I'd be looking at the wheels and tyres as already mentioned, but you really shouldn't have to on a £3,300 bike.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Mostly
Would you consider buying the bike? Probably not.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Maybe
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's more expensive than other carbon endurance bikes with a similar level of equipment.
Use this box to explain your overall score
While it offers speed and good handling, it's a bit stiff and it's pricier than key rivals, which makes it harder to score it higher. It's not a bad bike, but in a very competitive category it's not quite cutting it.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.